Report: New York Fracking Advocates Say Local Bans Are ‘Kiss of Death’

“State Senator James Seward introduced a bill last year that would ensure New York towns can continue to ban fracking regardless of court decisions.”

Sounds like anarchy to us.

Bloomberg reports,

New York would lose any chance of reaping the economic benefits of the shale-gas boom if local governments are allowed to ban drilling through zoning laws, advocates say.

The state sits on the northern edge of the Marcellus Shale, which may hold enough natural gas to supply the U.S. for two decades, according to Terry Engelder, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University. In 2010, New York placed a moratorium on the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing so state regulators can develop rules. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow municipalities to ban the practice, a right several say they already have.

“Giving local governments the power to regulate would be the kiss of death for natural-gas development in New York state,” Tom West, an attorney in Albany who represents Denver- based Anschutz Exploration Corp. and other drilling companies, said in a telephone interview…

New York, like most states, regulates oil and gas development, according to Eric Waeckerlin, an environment and energy attorney with Kelley Drye & Warren LLP in Washington. The state also recognizes municipal home rule, which allows towns to adopt laws to protect their “physical and visual environment” and the “safety, health, and well-being” of residents.

Most local bans would exclude heavy industry such as gas drilling through local zoning laws, Waeckerlin said. The courts may view such blanket prohibitions by towns as a usurpation of the state’s authority, he said.

State Senator James Seward introduced a bill last year that would ensure New York towns can continue to ban fracking regardless of court decisions. The Senate chose not to vote on drilling-related bills until state regulators finish writing the fracking rules, Seward, a Republican representing a swath of Central New York that includes Dryden, said in a telephone interview.

The New York Assembly passed a companion bill, and Seward said he plans to renew the fight in the Senate this year.

“My intent is not to kill the industry,” Seward said. “Texas allows towns to have different setbacks, which means uneven regulation in a big drilling state. It’s inconsistent to say by allowing home rule here, we’re going to scare off the industry.”

Read the entire Bloomberg report.

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